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Clindamycin for Cats

Written By Kim Rain
Published: 07/30/2021Updated: 07/30/2021
Clindamycin for Cats

Clindamycin for cats is prescribed to treat external wounds, skin infections, abscesses, dental infections, bone infections and toxoplasmosis in cats. In certain circumstances, this antibiotic is given “off-label,” which means that it hasn’t been approved for specific use in cats but has shown moderate effectiveness for the above conditions. Off-label prescribing is a common practice among veterinarians.


The cost of generic clindamycin for cats ranges from $5 to $9 for a month’s supply from various pharmaceutical outlets. It is only available with a prescription and in tablets, liquid and capsule form.


Veterinarians prescribe clindamycin by weight. The usual dose for a cat is:

Depending on the infection type, severity and location, the dose may also be prescribed for twice-daily administration.

Dosage Instructions

Clindamycin for cats may be given with or without food, but cats should never be given a dry pill, which can cause esophageal problems. Cats have a reputation for resisting taking medications, and if they can take them with food, putting the pill or liquid into their breakfast may be the best option. The oral liquid is best for cats that have to take meds on an empty stomach or who refuse to eat their food with the medication in it. Restraining the feline with a large towel wrap will make it easier, as is a helper that will keep the cat calm inside their cocoon.

When administering liquid medication to a cat, gently pull up their top lip, insert the oral syringe just behind the back teeth and inject the liquid into the back of the mouth. Be sure not to squirt so vigorously that the cat chokes. Hold the cat’s mouth closed until they swallow, and gently massaging their neck will facilitate the process. If they spit some of the medication out, do not give more at that time. Never double up on doses or give more than is prescribed.


Clindamycin for cats is effective against bacteria that cause wound skin infections, along with bone and dental infections, and toxoplasmosis. It is not effective against Gram-negative bacilli such as that found in cat scratch fever.

Microbiologists performed a study on cats to discover clindamycin’s effectiveness in toxoplasmosis, and the results showed that while clindamycin for cats showed some effectiveness, it may not be the best choice for this infection. More research is necessary to prove or disprove this result.

The FDA has approved the use of clindamycin for cats against gram-positive bacteria Staph aureus, Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium, and Fusobacterium. All of these bacteria can cause serious, life-threatening illnesses.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of clindamycin for cats affects the gastrointestinal system, and can sometimes result in bloody vomiting and diarrhea. Side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Lip-smacking
  • Esophageal injury


As mentioned earlier, clindamycin for cats has been implicated in esophagitis. It also should not be used in lactating cats because it passes into the milk and can cause diarrhea in kittens. The drug is effective in about 1-2 hours, although full effects may take several days. Each dose stops working after 24 hours.

Drug Interactions

Clindamycin for cats (Antirobe, Cleocid, ClinDrops. Clintabs) interacts with the following medications:

  • Neuromuscular blocking agents (pancuronium, cyclosporin, erythromycin)

Allergies and sensitivity

Allergies caused by clindamycin for cats are rare. It should be used with caution in cats with liver or kidney damage because these organs detoxify the drug. Dosages may have to be adjusted in these cases. As mentioned earlier, clindamycin may cause diarrhea in nursing kittens.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if a clindamycin tablet gets caught in my cat’s throat?

Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic immediately. Not only can the cat be having difficulty breathing, but the drug can cause erosion and ulcers in the esophagus.

How should I store clindamycin?

Clindamycin for cats should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight. Do not refrigerate the liquid.

Is monitoring necessary when using clindamycin?

In addition to monitoring for signs of allergy, choking or hypersensitivity, your veterinarian will keep track of the medication’s effectiveness on the infection as treatment progresses. When the cat has been on clindamycin for 30 days or longer, the vet will order liver and kidney function tests. 

What do I do in an emergency?

If you suspect your cat is having an allergic reaction, has gotten more clindamycin than prescribed, or shows signs of hypersensitivity to it, get in touch with your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic immediately. Do this also if you notice your cat choking, salivating and drooling, or gagging. This may indicate a pill is stuck in your cat’s throat and this can be life-threatening.

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